The Jersey shore is best known for its beaches and boardwalks, but it hasn’t been nicknamed “The Garden State” for nothing. Agriculture is NJ’s 3rd largest industry. In terms of production nationally, Jersey ranks 3rd in cranberries and bell peppers, 4th in spinach and peaches, 5th in blueberries and cucumbers, 6th in sweet corn, 7th in squash, 8th in tomatoes and snap beans, and 10th in cabbage. There’s even a “Jersey Fresh” label that produce must pass a grading program to receive.
If you’re looking to take advantage of New Jersey’s agricultural splendor, here is a guide to Jersey shore produce harvesting times. Find out what produce you should pick when to ensure peak freshness.
Blackberries, blueberries, peaches, nectarines, and plums are in season right now, but the end is fast approaching! Pick these fruits within the next week or so to ensure the best taste and texture. Hurry, before they’re all gone, or worse yet, rotten!
There are some fruits and vegetables that are in season right now or will be soon. You can pick some of these now, but you still have time if you need it. Cucumber season starts in a few days, but it only lasts through mid-August, so be careful! Apples and melons are ripe now through October. Pears, squash, and sweet corn hit their peak in August. Raspberries and tomatoes are ready now through September, and rutabagas and turnips August through November. Cantaloupes are ripe for the next two months, but currants are only ripe in August.
Pick lima beans until the end of August. Arugula, basil, eggplants, green beans, potatoes, radishes, zucchini, and carrots are in season now through September, while beets, broccoli, celery, garlic, lettuce, peppers, watermelon, and cabbage season will last through October. The trendy broccoli rabe and chard will be ready August through November. Okra season begins in mid-August, but only lasts until mid-September.
These fruits and vegetables won’t be ready until the fall, or have seasons that stretch until late fall. You can definitely wait to pick these. Grapes won’t be ready until September, and cranberries until October. Brussel sprout season runs from September through November, and cauliflower October through November. Collards are ripe by the end of August and can be picked through the end of October. Kale and leeks are ready to be picked now, but their seasons stretch into November and December respectively. Pumpkin season only runs during the first half of October, while fennel can be picked throughout October and November.
By timing your purchases right, you can make sure you buy the Jersey Freshest produce. However, these Jersey shore produce harvesting times are rough estimates of peak ripeness and should not be seen as a perfect prediction. And of course, call any farms you might visit for picking before arriving to make sure that they still have the produce you want left!